Figuring out how to match a bed and bedside tables successfully can be tricky for some. It’s usually after you’ve shopped for these pieces and gotten them in the room together that you begin to see the mistake you’ve made.
To stop you from making a design blunder you can’t come back from, I wanted to share my expert tips on matching a bed with the right bedsides (or nightstands as some call them). These clever tips will allow you to look at your existing bed and know the perfect style of bedside to marry it with.
Or, even better, if you’re shopping for both at the same time you can figure out how to buy the bed and bedsides with no regret at all. Scroll on as I talk you through the things you need to think about when buying a bed and bedside tables.
The hero image above is via life interiors.
Want to know how to match a dining table with the right chairs? We reveal all here.
1. First Things First: Avoid Bedroom Suites at All Costs
Before I get into how to match a bed and beside tables I have to say this. And I’m sure some of the retailers are going to hate me for saying it, but I have to speak my truth. And that truth is this: bedroom suites are a no deal.
A bed, beside tables and chest of drawers that all look the same gives a zone like a bedroom way too much of the one colour and texture. It’s visual overkill and doesn’t allow for the medley of materials needed to create a balanced, harmonious space.
An interior needs variation; in colour, material and pattern. Buying furniture for your bedroom with a matchy-matchy approach like this results in the space feeling quite sterile and uninviting.
Find out the other big bedroom design mistakes you might be making in this post.
2. Don’t Make Bedside Height Your Biggest Mistake
Before we even get into materials, colours or styles, we have to address the biggest blunder of all: bedside height. This is something you can’t and shouldn’t eyeball or guess.
The top of your bedside table should sit at the roughly the same height as the top of your mattress. The reason so many people get this wrong is because they don’t take the height of their mattress into consideration (some of them are so thick!).
Before you purchase bedside tables you should measure from the floor to the top of your bed with the mattress and bedding on top. This is the height guide you should use for your bedside tables.
You can go about 10cm higher or lower here, but nothing more. Any height variation over this and the bedsides will look like a mistake.
3. Scale in Relation to the Bed is Also Important
The width of the bedside table you’re thinking about pairing with your bed is also important. This is because you don’t want a large king or four-poster bed with teeny-tiny bedside tables sitting next to them. The whole scale of the room will look off.
You want the bed to sit proudly between two bedside tables that look adequately proportioned. This is the case for a single bed as much as it is a California King.
A single, double or queen bed, for example, will look best with bedside tables with a width of about 50cm to 6ocm. If you have a king, or something quite tall and dominant, you can afford to go larger with bedside tables up to 80cm in width. Ensure you take wall width into consideration here too.
4. The Bed Should Be in a Different Finish to the Bedsides
As mentioned in point one, you have to vary the materials and finishes in the furniture you bring into your bedroom. So, my advice is to ensure your bed frame (or headboard) and bedside tables are not in exactly the same finish.
My ideal scenario when designing rooms is to have a fabric bed frame (be it velvet, linen, leather etc) paired with a much harder material in the bedside table (like timber or marble). This gives you a perfect balance between hard and soft.
Now, I know not all of you want a fabric bed frame, and that is absolutely OK. Some spaces, like delicious coastal or bohemian ones, call for a timber bed frame. In this instance, you can replicate the finish in your bed and bedside table with a small term and condition…
5. A Timber Bed Frame Can Pair with a Timber Bedside*
I had to put the little asterix in there because you can have your bed and bedside table both in the same colour material, but there’s a rule to follow.
That rule, is to ensure there is some other material at play in the bedside table profile, or within the headboard of the bed.
Case in point: the bedside table above has a marble top, which breaks up the feeling of exact material replication. Another way to do it would be to have the headboard feature a detail that breaks up the material, like perforated rattan. Or perhaps the bedside has a glass top.
Some variation is needed in one of the pieces for this rule-break to work.
6. One Has to Be the Star: Bed or Bedside Table
The most successful bedroom scenes feature a bed and bedside table combination where one of them is the star, and the other is a supporting player. You know, someone is in the front seat, the other in the back.
By that I mean, one is more elaborate in its design. It might be a bed with tufted button details. It might be a bedhead with an elaborate shape to it. Or perhaps the material is a bold and bright velvet. If this is the case, it would be wrong to have equally eye-catching side tables.
In the reverse, a bedside table with an intricate profile on the front, like slats or perforation or diamond patterns, is best paired with a simpler bed design. I’d pair a wilder bedside like this with a bed featuring clean lines and minimal details (some piping would be more than enough).
On the hunt for an eye-catching bed frame? Here’s some of our favourites you can shop.
7. Avoid the Bedside and Flooring Being the Same Tone
I’m not one for hard flooring in a bedroom, but if you have this in yours, then pairing the right bed with the beside table needs an extra step in the thinking process. You also need to consider how the bed and beside will play with your flooring.
You’d never have light oak flooring with a light oak bed and a light oak bedside table. It’s just way too much of the one material and colour. It’ll give you no softness, no variety, no calm.
In this instance, a large textured floor rug in a different colour can help, but it’s still not ideal. You could have the same material replicated in your bedside table and floor, for example, but you’d want the bedside elevated on legs, not running all the way into the floor.
And in a scenario like this, you’d want a lot of softness in the space through things like sheer curtains and layers of bedding. The image above gets it right in so many ways.
8. Don’t Get Caught Up in Matching Design Styles
When I’m designing rooms for clients and pairing a bed with bedside tables, I’m never boxing myself into a design style. I’m not thinking “the bed is very coastal, I need to find a coastal side table”. It’s about so much more than that.
I actually follow the process I’ve listed out above for you. I think about the floor colour in the room. I think about the height of the bed when the mattress is on it. I’m thinking about the wall colour that’ll be behind the bed. And I’m thinking about varying textures and shapes.
Don’t pigeon hole yourself into one style when hunting down a bed and bedside tables. The best rooms (and homes for that matter) are a blend of different design styles. So keep your mind open and consider varying colours, shapes and styles when pairing.
9. That Said, Consider How You Want the Bedroom to Feel
You definitely don’t want to get stuck in a Google hole of searching for one particular style. But it is wise to have a think about how you want your bedroom to feel. This is how you create mood.
When you walk into the space, do you want it to feel luxurious? Do you want it to feel calm and tranquil? Do you want it to feel feminine, masculine, organic, restful, uplifting? The list goes on and one. But my point is, the mood can dictate your bed and bedside table choices.
Darker timbers can feel inherently moodier, luxe, formal and serious. Lighter oaks more organic and earthy. Rustic timbers feel more industrial. In beds, velvet has a sophisticated hotel-vibe, while rattan or linen feels relaxed, coastal and easy-breezy.
If you’re stuck, Google things like “calm light and bright bedroom” or “dark and moody hotel style bedroom”, rather than “Hampton’s bedroom“. This will help you see examples of how other people have matched a bed with bedside tables in the vibe you want to achieve.
10. Choose One First, then Find its Perfect Match
Last on my list of things considerings regarding how to match a bed and bedside tables is the starting point.
I tend to select the bed first, because it’s naturally going to take up the most space in the room and be more dominant. I think about what the room should feel like, along with the colour of the floor and walls, and then select a bed that’ll work.
Once the bed is locked in, then I consider how to bring in variation with the right bedside tables. I’m looking to compliment the bed, not complete with it. If the bed is very straight and rigid and structured, the bedside table might be round, or have an interesting handle/pull.
You’re always going for a nice variety in all of the design elements. But I can assure you, choosing one first (like the bed) and using it as your starting point is always easier.
I hope these tips have made you an expert on how to match a bed and bedside tables. If you have any questions about pairing your bed and bedside tables don’t hesitate to drop me a comment below.